Here’s the list of winners and their big seasons:
1. JIMMIE JOHNSON, 53 victories — What stands out most about Johnson is his relentless consistency: Since his rookie season of 2002, Johnson has won at least three races in every season. His best year, at least in terms of victories, came in 2007, when he won 10 races. That’s the most in a single season by any driver since 2000.
2. TONY STEWART, 36 — The two-time champ won six races in 2000 and since then has won at least two races per season in every year except 2008, when he captured just one victory in his final season with Joe Gibbs Racing. A notoriously slow starter, Stewart is always a threat to win when the weather heats up.
3. JEFF GORDON, 33 — In both 2001 and ’07, Gordon won six races, but in the last three seasons, his victory total has been down sharply: He’s won just one race since the start of the 2008, a big reason that Rick Hendrick shuffled crew chiefs at Hendrick Motorsports.
4. KURT BUSCH, 22 — A solid performer and the 2004 Sprint Cup champion, Busch has won at least one race in each of the last nine seasons. In terms of victories, his most productive seasons were 2002-03, when he won four races each year.
5. KYLE BUSCH, 19 — Although he continues to post record victory totals in the NASCAR Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series, Busch's victory totals have actually declined in the last two years at the Cup level: He won eight races in 2008, four in ’09 and three in ’10.
6. DALE EARNHARDT JR., 18 — Every member of the Earnhardt Nation, it seems, has his or her own theory for Earnhardt’s recent slump. Here’s one: Prior to the introduction of the Car of Tomorrow in 2007, Earnhardt won 17 Cup races in 275 starts. Behind the wheel of the new car, he’s won just once in 124 races.
6. CARL EDWARDS, 18 — A nine-victory season nearly won Edwards the Sprint Cup championship in 2008, but he followed that up with a 70-race winless streak. But with victories at Phoenix and Homestead to end the season, Edwards might just be back on track.
6. MATT KENSETH, 18 — The 2003 champ is the yin to Edwards’ yang: Kenseth won the first two races of the 2009 season and has gone winless in his last 70 starts.
9. GREG BIFFLE, 16 — In 2005, Biffle won eight races, fully half his career total as he nearly claimed the championship that year, finishing a close second to Tony Stewart.
9. DENNY HAMLIN, 16 — With eight victories and a second-place points finish in 2010, Hamlin firmly established himself as a star in the sport and the unquestioned leader at Joe Gibbs Racing.
Tom Jensen is the Editor in Chief of SPEED.com, Senior NASCAR Editor at RACER and a contributing Editor for TruckSeries.com. You can follow him online at twitter.com/tomjensen100 and e-mail him at Jensen is the author of “Cheating: The Bad Things Good NASCAR Nextel Cup Racers Do In Pursuit of Speed,” and has appeared on numerous television and radio shows. Jensen is the past President of the National Motorsports Press Association and an NMPA Writer of the Year.